Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A short note on Barney Frank 

More than twenty years ago I had a chance to sit and talk with Barney Frank for a while. Then as now, there is very little common ground between us on matters of political preference or our vision for the country. Vexatious as he is to conservatives, I always thought that as politicians went Frank was fairly principled, in that he generally makes intellectually honest arguments for the other side, at least (again) by the standards of politicians. This, I think, is evidence that I am right.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 20, 02:14:00 AM:

Thanks for posting this, Jack.

Glad to see that Barney Frank is an American first, a Democrat second.  

By Blogger Brian, at Wed Jan 20, 02:56:00 AM:

I think American Spectator is over-interpreting Franks' comment. He's a talkative guy though, so if he means what they claim, it will get verified.

It would in no sense be a change in the rules for the House to pass the identical legislation that passed the Senate.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed Jan 20, 06:44:00 AM:

Frank is just telling the Democrats not to twist the spear that just landed in their chest.

I wish he had displayed the same common sense back when he and Dodd almost single-handedly destroyed the mortgage industry.  

By Blogger redleg, at Wed Jan 20, 06:51:00 AM:

All I know about Frank is what I see on TV. I have less confidence in his high standards. I believe the Dems will start pulling every trick they can to pass the health care monstrosity.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Wed Jan 20, 08:14:00 AM:

Words are cheap. So are Politicians. If and When it comes down to a vote, he will vote right along with the rest of the Dems to cram this abomination through, "for our own good."  

By Anonymous Mad as Hell...., at Wed Jan 20, 08:29:00 AM:

I'm shooting from the hip. Tell me where I'm wrong.

NY Congressman Anthony Weiner -- Chuck Schumer's mini-me -- is doing something similar to Barney Frank and Jim Webb by publicly calling for a Healthcare timeout. They're all smart enough pols not to run over a cliff.

Nancy may not be that smart, or not care. If Nancy keeps pushing on Healthcare -- she keeps saying it will get done -- she'll blow up her coalition. Does any House Democrat have the balls to challenge her for the Speakership ... anyone? Do it now or forever hold your manhood cheap. Developing ....

Some -- like Barney Frank -- are trying to blame it on Coakley personally. But Scott Brown's win was about more than Coakley or Healthcare. Especially in Massachusetts -- which already has Mittcare -- Brown won because he channeled the much broader discontent of voters. We just witnessed their very loud primal scream: "It's the economy, stupid!" Smart Democrats are trying to say that the message is narrower ... that they just need to rethink Healthcare. Many in MSM are going along.

White House Press Secretary Gibbs is trying to blame Bush, literally. Is Obama that blind?

Scott Brown isn't a Republican -- not by the standards of many party purists. The national Republican party deserve no credit for Brown's success. They came in late. Independents voted for Brown something like 2 to 1. The same thing happened in the recent Republican governorship wins in New Jersey and Virginia. If the Republicans don't figure this out they won't be a national party.

Turnout mattered. I haven't seen detail but turnout was like that of a regular Presidential election. Obama's stumping for Coakley was a mistake -- it just got more of the "mad middle" pissed off enough to go vote.

The Rasmussen poll is a truer indicator of the fall-off in Obama's support. He still enjoys high personal popularity with many, but if Obama delivers a tone-deaf State of the Union next week he'll slip more. I expect it will be a disaster. What Obama needs to say doesn't fit with his personal political agenda and he can't get away with the fluffy rhetoric that worked during the campaign. Memo to the Great One: green jobs aren't the answer. MSM may turn on Obama yet.

The Republicans can win back the House in 2010. If they don't, the fault is theirs. Analogies to 1994 are inapposite. Discontent is much higher now than then ... and for good reason.

Sidebar: If the Republicans win the House, Barney loses his Chair. He should be investigated over Fannie and Freddie. By that point we'll be painfully aware aof the hundreds of billions they'll have lost.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 20, 09:05:00 AM:

Oooooh. Subpoena power.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 20, 09:14:00 AM:

Barney Franks intellectual honesty ends at discussing Fannie and Freddie, in which he bears the greatest responsibility for destroying. He stood, alone in some years, in defense of their management and lending practices, he authored the principa legislation that caused the destruction of both "firms", and just recently persuaded the administration to lift all caps on backstopping their debts.

He denies any of these actions had any deleterious effect at all on our economy. He's a man who not only isn't intellectually honest, but he should literally be tarred and feathered before being run out of town on a rail.  

By Blogger rosalie, at Wed Jan 20, 09:45:00 AM:

Amen to the previous post!  

By Blogger clint, at Wed Jan 20, 01:40:00 PM:

Rep. Frank's statement is a nice contrast to some of the more extreme reactions on the other side of the aisle, but even here there's some cause for concern:

"... I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 votes are not enough to pass major legislation..."

There's even a precedent --- in 1975, there were 61 Democratic Senators, in a Senate which required 67 votes to end debate. So they changed the rules to make it 60 votes...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 20, 02:26:00 PM:

The real problem's not the number so much as that you don't have to, you know, filibuster in order to filibuster any more. All a senator has to do is declare a filibuster; he doesn't have to stand on his feet and actually do it as they did in the past.


By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Wed Jan 20, 10:40:00 PM:

I recall Rep. Frank saying that Republicans cared so much about babies before they were born, but didn't care about them afterward. This reveals such ignorance or dishonesty about the prolife crowd that I have simply not listened to him since. There are basic standards for political discussion, and he's below them.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 20, 10:48:00 PM:

I am really saddened by this post. You judged a man on his words. I judge him on his actions, and the man is a truely corrupt, vile man.

You are no better than the Obama supporters, getting starry eyed after talking to someone for a little bit. That is what politicians do. That is what con artists do! People LOVE con men and keep loving them even after they are stabbed in the back. You are no different.

You are simply a poor judgment of character, hoping from the best when the man's actions speak evil. I am just amazed how people are taken over and over and over again, but it is because they want to believe. That is a good quality, but it is also called naivety.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jan 23, 10:14:00 PM:

Surely this is just a case of a politician putting his finger to the wind. When he was free to do so, he was brandishing a different finger to those who wanted to address what was taken to be the systemic risk of Fan and Fred since the early 2000s.

I'd feel differently if he had said, "Look, I was trying to do the right thing; I now see the error of my ways and deeply regret how I may have influenced the impact my decisions had on the financial crisis."

As far as I know, he has taken no responsibility, which honesty would require.

Remember, this is the guy who said he wanted to "roll the dice" with Fannie and Freddie. It's astonishing that he hasn't been called out as one of those most responsible for the financial crisis, even if his motives were altruistic.

I don't think Frank should be in prison, but an honest man would have retired in disgrace and joined a monastery or something, given the magnitude of destruction he helped to caus.  

By Anonymous What is To Be Done ..., at Sun Jan 24, 10:14:00 AM:

At its root the mortgage crisis was caused by our collectively removing the need for a real downpayment from homebuyers. It's that simple. Barney Frank pursued this as a deliberate policy objective. It's that simple.

... and for his Fannie Mae boy toy. Go ahead, call me a homophobe. I'm tired of double standards. If Herbert Moses had been a blonde with Double Ds, Barney would have been brought to serious account. Instead Barney was promoted to the House committee chair.

There are too many Barney-Moses pairings of all stripes in DC, which is a core part of the problem. We're at war with this political class. They're not all Democrats. It's that simple.  

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